This case was written to (1) illustrate the CEO’s role as chief strategist and organization leader, (2) demonstrate how a company’s business principles and core values can link tightly to and drive a company’s strategy and operating practices, and (3) give students practice in evaluating a company’s direction and strategy in the context of a fast-emerging segment of an important industry. The case requires that students draw upon most all of the concepts discussed in Chapters 1 and 2 in preparing the case for class discussion.
Suggested assignment question for the case:
What is your assessment of John Mackey’s strategic vision for Whole Foods Market, the strategic objectives he has set for the company, the core values that Whole Foods displays in its operations, and the company’s strategy? How well is Whole Foods’ strategy working? Was the Wild Oats Market acquisition a good move or a mistake? What recommendations would you make to John Mackey in light of recent events at the company?
Detailed assignment questions:
1. What are the chief elements of the strategy that Whole Foods Market is pursuing?
2. Is the strategy well matched to recent developments and conditions in the natural and organic foods segment of the food retailing industry?
3. Do you think John Mackey has a good strategic vision for Whole Foods? Why or why not? What do you like/dislike about the company’s motto “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet?” Do the motto and the principles underlying it (Exhibit 1) really matter at this company or are they just nice words and cosmetic window dressing? Explain.
4. Do Whole Foods Market’s core values as presented in case Exhibit 3 really matter? Are they “real” or just cosmetic window dressing? What evidence can you cite to support your answer? Have Whole Foods’ core values contributed to the company’s success? Why or why not?
5. How well is Whole Foods Market